Camping: Island Campgrounds
Spending One or More Nights in the Great Outdoors on Catalina
Since the vast majority of Catalina Island's 76 square miles (48,640 acres) remains undeveloped and protected, one of the best ways imaginable to experience the island is to camp there. The Santa Catalina Island Company maintains good-quality campgrounds at five different locations, making it possible for you to enjoy the island in its great variety.
Most convenient of these campgrounds awaits within the city of Avalon itself, just a mile and a half up Avalon Canyon Road from the harbor. Charmingly named Hermit's Gulch Campground features 43 campsites that provide an opportunity to sleep amid nature while taking advantage of all the attractions that the island's main town has to offer.
Three different campgrounds provide the chance to enjoy Catalina's pristine shorelines: Two Harbors Campground, with 45 campsites situated on a bluff with a view of the island's isthmus, conveniently close to the village of Two Harbors; Little Harbor Campground, with 16 campsites close by a sandy beach on Catalina's leeward side; and the remote, primitive Parson's Landing Campground, with 8 campsites on a beach along the island's northernmost shore.
Finally, there's Black Jack Campground. This 10-campsite facility lies at the heart of Catalina, near its highest elevation, letting campers experience the beauty and solitude of the island's remote interior.
But, this being Catalina Island, there are still more options beyond the five official campgrounds. Accessible only via kayak or private boat, 11 more primitive campgrounds exist along the island's shore between Avalon and Two Harbors, making it possible to experience even greater island solitude.
Whichever campground you select, you'll be assured of well-maintained facilities. And you'll be sharing the location with other souls who, like you, value the beauty and serenity of unspoiled nature.
Organizing a Catalina Camping Experience
Camping reservations on Catalina Island must be made through the Santa Catalina Island Company. For a reservation, phone 310-510-2800. Primitive boat-in campgrounds are located between Avalon and Two Harbors and are accessible only via kayak or private boat.
Take the Avalon Trolly to Hermit Gulch Campground. The remaining Catalina campgrounds can be reached via the Safari Bus, booked in advance at 310-510-2800, which departs from Avalon and Two Harbors. Camping coneirge and gear transport is available. Kayaking and boat charter companies can provide access to the 11 primitive shoreline campgrounds.
Facilities vary from site to site:
- Hermit Gulch includes lighted restrooms with flush toilets, coin-operated showers, fresh water, vending machines, lockers, ice, charcoal, fire logs, propane, and rentals of cabin tents and equipment.
- Two Harbors campsites have barbecue, picnic table, fire pit, and sunshade, and there are rinse-off showers, fresh water, lockers, and chemical toilets. Rangers sell firewood, charcoal, and propane, and rentals of cabin tents and equipment are available.
- Little Harbor campsites have picnic tables, barbecues, and fire rings, and most have sunshades; there are rinse-off showers, fresh water, lockers, and chemical toilets, but rentals are available only by pre-purchase.
- Black Jack's sites all have barbecues, picnic tables, and fire rings, and there are rinse-off showers, fresh water, lockers, and chemical toilets; firewood must be pre-purchased.
- Parson's Landing campsites all have barbecues, picnic tables and fire rings, but this is the most primitive campground of the five, with chemical toilets and no fresh water, showers, or sunshades; fees include one bundle of wood and 2.5 gallons of bottled water, with more available only by pre-purchase and all other supplies carried in by the camper.
Strict rules apply at all campgrounds, including a 10 p.m. curfew for minors under 18 years, quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., no littering, and protection of all plants and animals. Dogs are not allowed at campsites, except on leashes at the boat-in beach campgrounds of Ben Weston, and Shark Harbor.
Time to Allow: Two or more days.
Reservations are required for all campsites and transportation.
Prices and availability are subject to change.